John Keane: the only man who stepped forward


Few Celtic fans could reflect on what they have done for the club with as much satisfaction as John Keane, the former director, who died yesterday.  In 1994, when the Bank of Scotland gave Celtic 24 hours to repay their borrowing or face administration, Keane was one of a group of Celtic supporters who had engaged ‘the old board’ with a view to brining about a regime change.

The board resisted, but when faced with the inevitable, they looked for help.  John Keane was the only man who stepped forward.  As I understand, he paid a banker’s draft for £1m into Celtic’s Bank of Scotland account.  This put the club in credit, Keane had no claim on the money or the club, it was completely an act of faith.  The board, in theory, could have continue to trade, but they immediately opened negotiations with Keane, Fergus McCann and others.

John joined the board when the new regime, headed by McCann, took control.  As one of the largest shareholders in the club, his influence was larger than his public profile.  The Irishman remained on the board as a non-exec and eventually honorary chairman until 2019.

Football is full of blowhards who like to shout about others, but very few of us did what was necessary to prevent our club from collapse.  Without John’s £1m, a brutal administration would have followed the next day and Celtic’s history since then would be very different.

Those who knew him and worked with him held him in great affection.  Our thoughts go to his son Mark and the family.

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  1. John Keane



    The people who do, do , no bragging no shouting from the rooftops. Just DO



    Forever grateful




  2. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    “The true measure of a man is not where he stands during moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands during trial and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.



    RIP John Keane.

  3. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from the Penny Farthing. Nice tribute to John Keane on James Forrest site.

  4. the bank of ireland deposit from john keane to celtic.



    no involvement or indeed cash from mr dempsey






    ‘Administration was unthinkable,’ – Thanks a Million, John Keane, Celtic Hero



    it was the action of John Keane that secured its immediate survival. Then Chairman Kevin Kelly swallowed his pride and picked up the phone to John Keane after the bank had delivered their chilling message.



    Legend has it Mr Keane when told of the genuine threat of administration called his own bank manager at The Bank of Ireland in Dublin, authorised the withdrawal of £1million, and on Monday morning that same manager was waiting at opening time at the Bank Of Scotland in Glasgow. He simply deposited that money and Celtic avoided the very real threat of Administration.



  5. glendalystonsils on

    Some will let their club die , others will not contemplate it .


    RIP John Keane . Probably the most important person in Celtic’s (unbroken) history since Br. Walfrid .

  6. garygillespieshamstring on

    RIP John Keane



    The msm rags are describing Mr Keane as “the man who saved Celtic”.


    This implies that they believe that if John Keane had not stepped in, Celtic would have died in 1993.



    However they do not accept that when no one stepped in with money when Rangers needed it to avoid liquidation, the club died.



    They just don’t see the hypocrisy.

  7. It should also be noted that John got his love for Celtic, and interest in Scotland, from his Mother, from Glasgow, who moved to Ireland with John Keane’s Father. And also that he himself moved to Scotland whilst a very young man, later to become a very successful business man. All connected to Celtic FC are forever grateful that he did so when he did, and was in a position to help save Celtic at such a crucial time.


    And let us not forget the that the Bank ready to foreclose on Celtic FC back in 1994 was none other than the Bank of Scotland, the very same bank who had earlier lent the Ayrshire Rag N Bone Man, (copyright Tontine Tim) the funds to buy the Rangers FC shareholding, and continued to over lend to David Murray 1993-94 (Alf Young) while threatening the very existence of their main and major rivals, namely Celtic FC. The same bank continued to lend over a £billion to MIH, loans provided (and unpaid) which enabled Murray to be ennobled by Gordon ‘Pa’ Broon, shortly before said Bank of Scotland went down the veritable plughole. A fitting end.



    There is only one Shining Knight in this story, and that is John Keane


    Condolences to his family and friends and all who knew him personally


    RIP John Keane

  8. Bhoyjoebelfast on

    Rest in eternal peace Mr.John Keane.


    Love’s last gift remembrance.It is important that Mr.John Keane is remembered by all connected to CELTIC FOOTBALL CLUB.It would be most fitting that a statue of John be placed alongside those already in situ.

  9. RIP John Keane.



    A quiet man who actions spoke louder than words .



    A man who deserves a statue at Celtic Park .




  10. bournesouprecipe on

    “ They was takin kwik froes, they was on the front foot “



    ITV studio expert

  11. the long wait is over on

    RIP John Keane.



    As Paul says a quiet and dignified man but one whose role in Celtic’s unbroken history simply cannot be





    I join with all the others here and elsewhere in tendering my condolences to Mark and the rest of his family.

  12. Jimmy son when you report to the yard on Monday you and Bannon will head over to Kirkcaldy to some excavations on the promenade, that was in the late 80s,aye he was OK with me R I P MR KEANE

  13. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from the Vicky Bar. A fine day in Govanhill, the cultural capital of Europe.

  14. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Ukraine game- VAR Lines drawn ,defending player boot was used to indicate onside,attacking player still had parts of his body he could score with were offside?

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